For the second year in a row, the Garnets have brought home the league title.
By Melanie Cane
For the second year in a row, the Garnets have brought home the league title. Their overall record was 16-4 and they were undefeated in the league. Going into sectionals, they are seeded third in Section 1 Class A for the third consecutive year.
They won their first playoff game on February 16 against 16th-seed Beacon 58-25. The Garnets dominated the entire game, so much so that Coach Dennis Hurlie was able to rest his starters for long stretches of time, including most of the fourth quarter.
In the first quarter, Ali Imam, Katie Popp, and Taylor Maurer were responsible for all of Rye’s 16 points. Imam started the scoring with a layup off an offensive rebound and Popp followed with a three-pointer. Then Rye’s defense put so much pressure on the Bulldogs that they ran down the 30-second clock. Popp scored again by driving to the basket and then, after Beacon scored their first basket, Popp drew a foul going for a lay-up. Imam scored again on a half-court pass from Maurer, and on Beacon’s next possession Popp stole the ball and drew a foul on the breakaway. After Maurer hit a three-pointer, Maddy Eck found Imam under the basket.
The Garnets had a 16-3 lead going into the second quarter. Beacon scored two consecutive baskets before Eck drew a foul and sunk both shots. On their next possession, Rye passed around beautifully before Eck sunk a three-pointer from the right corner. The Bulldogs answered with a three-pointer, after which Eck drove to the basket through a crowd of Bulldogs for the layup.
As Beacon’s offense heated up with some great movement, the Garnets struggled to convert their shots. Coach Hurlie called a timeout towards the end of the quarter and Rye came back on fire. Deirdre Potter hit a layup off an offensive rebound, Popp sank a three-pointer from the left side and then followed suit from the right corner. Rye had a 33-18 lead at the half.
In the second half, Rye outscored Beacon 25-7, and 16 of their points came in the third quarter. In that quarter, Popp scored three times on fast breaks. Most of the starters sat out the fourth quarter, except Maurer who had a fabulous game, hitting three three-pointers and creating scoring opportunities on most possessions. Coach Hurlie said, “If Taylor plays with that amount of confidence and poise throughout the post season, we are a very scary team. With out superior defense and two of the best players in the section, Eck and Popp, we will go far.” Popp tallied 16 points, Eck had 14, and Maurer had 11.
The Garnets’ next playoff game is post-press time on February 19 at home against the winner of the Pelham-Brewster game.